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National Centre for Atmospheric Science joins new national partnership for climate solutions

The National Centre for Atmospheric Science is joining forces with other leading UK climate science organisations to develop a new national alliance focused on climate solutions for society. 

The UK National Climate Science Partnership (UKNCSP) brings together seven Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) supported centres, and the Met Office, to respond to threats posed by our rapidly changing climate.

The UKNCSP members will combine their capabilities in climate change observation, prediction and impacts. The partnership will also build new multidisciplinary collaborations that are required to develop and evaluate climate solutions.

Recognising the urgency of climate action, in the context of the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference – COP26, the partnership will play an important role in embedding climate science in the government’s mitigation and adaptation plans. 

The partnership will also work with the public and private sectors to ensure that decision makers and business leaders have access to the climate information they need, in order to manage the risks of extreme weather events, meet net-zero targets, and build a climate-resilient UK over coming decades. 

“At a time of rapid climate and technological change, the UKNCSP will enable a new solutions-focused approach to climate science. By pooling the power of the UK’s wide-ranging capabilities in climate observing, prediction and impacts, we can shape a world-leading, strategic partnership that is driven by policy and decision-making needs. Governments and businesses urgently require quantitative information about the potential impacts of climate change on people, places and resources.”

Professor Rowan Sutton, Director of Climate Science at the National Centre for Atmospheric Science.

The partnership will enhance the UK’s capability by extending observational and modelling approaches, developing the use of new technologies, establishing major programmes of trans-disciplinary research and providing training for a new generation of policy and decision-makers and expert intermediaries.

Who are the UKNCSP members?

The UKNCSP brings together the NERC-supported centres and the Met Office. The seven NERC-supported research centres are: British Antarctic Survey, British Geological Survey, National Centre for Atmospheric Science, National Centre for Earth Observation, National Oceanography Centre, Plymouth Marine Laboratory and UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology.

Person inspects scientific instrument under a microscope

How will the UKNCSP be different to previous ways of working?

The UKNCSP aims to enhance the UK’s climate science capabilities and build  multidisciplinary collaborations that are required to meet emerging needs for climate policy advice and solutions to the challenges of net-zero and building a climate-resilient United Kingdom.

The Met Office and NERC-supported research centres have a long history of productive collaboration in climate science – specifically in numerical climate modelling. This new partnership will build on these strong foundations to integrate key observational capabilities with models to more effectively monitor and predict the evolving UK and global climate, and emerging impacts of climate change.  It will also forge partnerships with experts in other science areas, such as agriculture, health, economics, engineering and human behaviour, to develop the evidence required to inform solutions. 

How can universities contribute to the UKNCSP?

Building strong partnerships with UK universities is a high priority for UKNCSP.  University experts already make vital contributions to the UK’s capabilities in climate science. The UKNCSP aims to enhance existing collaborations as well as building new multidisciplinary collaborations that are required to address emerging needs for climate policy advice and solutions. Engaging with UK universities and the wider UK science community will be a key initial activity for the partnership.

What can businesses expect from the UKNCSP?

Businesses increasingly are rising to the challenges and opportunities of climate change.  To do so effectively, they need robust information – informed by the latest observations and models – about the impacts of climate change on assets and operations, and the associated risks. The UKNCSP aims to ensure that the UK science community is at the forefront of providing this climate information, including by working with partners to ensure that information is made available in decision-relevant forms.  

What will the UKNCSP offer government and public sector organisations? 

The UKNCSP aims to play a leading role in developing an end-to-end “climate decision value chain” that connects climate data and analysis of vulnerabilities, impacts and risks directly to the design and assessment of policy options. This will enable a clear line of sight from climate science to policy impact and ensure that UK decision makers benefit from the UK’s investment in its world-leading science and cutting-edge technologies, and from up-to-date multidisciplinary scientific advances.

What are the next steps for developing UKNCSP?

The UKNCSP is developing plans to engage with UK and devolved government, public and private sector decision makers, and the wider UK science community, to establish future needs for the national capability in climate science and the requirements and opportunities to build an effective climate decision value chain.

How is the UKNCSP resourced?

Initial funding from the partnership comes from the Met Office and NERC Centres aligning relevant National Capability activities to address the shared goals of the UKNCSP.  As the partnership develops, the partners will seek opportunities to fund new projects from public and private sector sources.